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Location Mongolia, Dornod,Khentii
Central coordinates 111o 8.00' East  49o 7.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 104,841 ha
Altitude 860 - 1,385m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

Site description  The site comprises the valley of the Onon and Balj Rivers in Dadal soum, Kentii aimag. It includes the confluence of the Balj and Galttai Rivers, Ikh Tsagaan and Baga Tsagaan Lake, and the area around Khurkheree Lake, The Onon and Agats Rivers and their confluence. The site supports diverse vegetation types, including steppe, willow groves and numberous small-sized rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. There is no agriculture and the area is used only for livestock pasture and hay making. At present, livestock grazing takes place at a comparatively low level. Tourism is starting to develop rapidly, however, the most serious problem at the site is forest and steppe fires, which often occur is spring when birds are nesting.

Key Biodiversity The following Globally Threatened species regularly occur at the site: Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN, breeding); Baikal Teal Anas formosa (VU, passage); Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU); Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (VU); Eastern Imperial Eagle A. heliaca (VU, breeding); Saker Falcon Falco cherrug (EN); Lesser Kestrel F. nuamanni (VU, breeding); Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus (CR, passage); White-naped Crane G. vipio (VU, breeding); Hooded Crane G. monacha (VU, passage); and Great Bustard Otis tarda (VU, breeding). The site supports an assemblage of species restricted to the Eurasian steppe and desert biome. The site also supports at least 1% of the flyway populations of the following congregatory waterbird species: Swan Goose Anser cygnoides; Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea; Common Pochard Aythya ferina; Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula; White-naped Crane Grus vipio; Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo; and Common Crane Grus grus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals occurring at the site include Daurian Ground Squirrel Spermophilus dauricus, Grey Wolf Canis lupus and Racoon Dog Nyctereutes procyonoides. Rare fish species found in the Onon and Balj Rivers indlude Eastern Brook Lamprey Lampetra reissneri, Amur Sturgeon Acipenser schrenckii, Chadary Coregonus chadary, Haitej Sculpin Mesocottus haitej and Alpine Bullhead Cottus poecilopus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Swan Goose Anser cygnoid breeding  2004  present  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Baikal Teal Sibirionetta formosa passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina 2004  present  A4i  Vulnerable 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula breeding  2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 2009  present  A1  Endangered 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Great Bustard Otis tarda breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus passage  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
White-naped Crane Antigone vipio breeding  2004  present  A1, A3, A4i  Vulnerable 
Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo breeding  2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus breeding  2004  present  A3, A4i  Least Concern 
Hooded Crane Grus monacha breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Onon-Balj basin National Conservation Park 415,752 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Forest Forest steppe (temperate/boreal)  -
Grassland   -

Protection status Partially protected by Onon-Balj National Park (Parts A and B)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Onon-Balj. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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